As Disney fans and frequent Guests of Disney Parks, we love to hear about exciting changes and additions at Disney World. But most of the time, thanks to sky-high construction walls erected to keep Guests, Cast Members, and the magic safe, we’re largely unable to watch the progress of those new additions until the structures have risen high above the construction walls and the changes are nearly brought to fruition. Often, we’re forced to wait the long weeks, months, or–as in the case of Magic Kingdom’s newest addition–years, before we can even catch a glimpse of the progress in the parks.
Until now, anyway.
Enter a photographer who calls himself Bioreconstruct: a phenomenal photographer, by the way, who dangles from the helicopters he charters to drape him across the expanse of the open skies high above the theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort.
Well ok, so maybe there’s not a high incidence of dangling, but by his own admission, Bioreconstruct is a bit of a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.” This writer recently had the honor and opportunity to engage in a short interview with the photographer whose photos are single-handedly responsible for allowing Disney World fans to peek into areas of the parks that are strictly off-limits to Guests, whether that’s a construction site for new attractions or in the skies above Cinderella Castle, in an area designated by the Federal Aviation Administration as a no-fly zone.
“Every flight has surprises,” he explained. “Unexpected things or different viewpoints.”
He describes his role as that of a superhero–but an undeniably humble one who takes little to no credit for being awesome.
“I’m just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,” he responded through a curtain of humility that called this writer’s humility into question. “Just taking photos like Peter Parker does to help the real reporters with content.”
And help us, he does. Thanks to his phenomenal photojournalistic prowess that lends itself to some really dynamic photos on his Twitter feed (@bioreconstruct), the writers at DisneyDining and other Disney fan sites are awarded the opportunity to enjoy a bird’s-eye or first-person view of goings-on at the Central Florida Disney Parks and the theme parks at Universal Studios Orlando Resort. In fact, photos taken by Bioreconstruct make some of our most popular posts possible, as we’re able to share with our readers a look at the parks from a vantage point we could never have delivered on our own. Strap on your parachutes as we set out over the parks like Peter Pan and Wendy over the city of London . . .
The World of Avatar Begins to Take Shape at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
It seems like a lifetime ago that Disney World first announced plans for the construction of Pandora: The World of Avatar inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. To many fans, the addition of a landscape from James Cameron’s critically-acclaimed Avatar seemed wildly out of place at a Disney Park. Today, we barely remember a pre-Pandora Animal Kingdom.
The aerial photos below were taken by Bioreconstruct and depict the location of Pandora in relation to the parking lots at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as well as the Pandora site before and after construction. Photos of the strange new bioluminescent world even show the themed land’s flagship attraction, Avatar: Flight of Passage.
The Expanse of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Equally as impressive as the aerial photos of Pandora is this wide-angle photo of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge taken by Bioreconstruct. The massive expanse of savanna behind the Resort Hotel is unbelievable. From this vantage point, some fans might not even realize that this image depicts a Guest area at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure & Disney Skyliner – France Pavilion, EPCOT
Plans for the Disney Skyliner were first announced at the 2017 D23 Expo, but the new attraction that doubled as a member of the Disney Transportation family didn’t open to Guests until September 29, 2019. During the Expo that year, Disney also announced plans for the construction of an attraction that debuted at Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris in 2014. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure was finally coming to Disney World at the France pavilion at EPCOT’s World Showcase, and Disney promised it would be operational in time for the Resort’s 50th anniversary celebration, which kicked off on October 1, 2021.
The construction site of the Ratatouille-themed ride can be seen in the center of the photo below, dated March 2018. Construction areas for the Disney Skyliner are marked with yellow arrows.
At center, aerial view of the Epcot Ratatouille ride site.
Arrows at Disney Skyliner construction. pic.twitter.com/ejC4KuL1bQ
— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) March 9, 2018
Further photos taken by Bioreconstruct show progress in the construction of Remy’s new attraction at EPCOT and depict the scaffolding erected for the ride structure in 2019, as well as the new building facades around the France pavilion in January 2022.
EPCOT’s World Showcase Illuminated at Night
Perhaps one of his most glorious and popular photos of all, the image below is a masterpiece by any account–a work of art that depicts each of the eleven countries that comprise EPCOT’s World Showcase. Ten of the pavilions are seen draped and dressed up in lights for the evening. The darkened area along the Showcase is the Morocco pavilion, which remains dark every evening. The main tower of the building in the pavilion is a replica of a prayer tower, and in accordance with Muslim beliefs, illuminating the tower at night is avoided as doing so contradicts those beliefs.
A Very Unmagical Disney World
When Disney World closed its gates to Guests on the night of March 16, 2020, it did so with an uncomfortable and unfamiliar level of uncertainty. Only three months after the coronavirus pandemic began its barrage on planet earth, the monster virus had amassed enough power to bring down every Disney theme park around the globe, rendering each one inoperable. The closures were unprecedented.
Just knowing that Disney World and every other Disney Park around the world would host no Guests, play no music, sell no turkey legs, make no magic, and generate no memories for the foreseeable future was soul-crushing. But the photo below–the exact image seen from the viewfinder of Bioreconstruct’s camera–dated March 2020, served as evidence of a scenario we hoped we had only conjured up in our nightmares.
It is a heartbreaking photo of a heartbreaking season in our world that sears the reality of the pandemic, the virus, and its potential for wreaking catastrophic devastation forever in our minds. It’s a photo that memorializes the complete absence of life, of Guests, of music, of magic–inside a kingdom known for the exact opposite–the Most Magical Place on Earth where Guests had been welcomed since 1971 with the promise that there, Guests “leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.”
At the time this photo was taken, no one was certain that tomorrow would ever come. We were living, after all, in unprecedented times.
Nearly four months later, Disney World fans woke up from the nightmare–many of them immediately racing back to their happy place as the Central Florida Disney Parks began a series of phased reopenings on July 11. But copious restrictions and health and safety procedures meant that Disney World could only operate with a minimal number of visitors, as those who visited in the first weeks of the reopening can attest to.
This photo, taken by Bioreconstruct as he hovered high above Magic Kingdom in August 2020, served as another journal entry documenting the long journey wherein Disney World struggled toward a “new normal.”
Other Random and Awe-Inspiring “Bioreconstructions”
The photos below depict various elements and locations around the Walt Disney World Resort–each one allowing fans to sneak behind the scenes to see things that would otherwise be completely backstage and out of view.
TRON Coaster Progress as Seen From Various Vantage Points – Magic Kingdom
After years of seemingly endless construction sans completion, Disney World fans began to lose hope in ever seeing the TRON Lightcycle Run attraction come to fruition, let alone being able to experience the new sci-fi attraction in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom. But while Guests waited, Bioreconstruct documented construction progress at the attraction, affording fans impressive photos of the new coaster and its unique canopy from different spots at Magic Kingdom, including the PeopleMover, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, respectively.
Bioreconstruct has been in the business of capturing life on film and in digital format for a while now, and if there’s one thing that’s glaringly obvious about him, it’s that he is extraordinarily humble–and a bit mysterious as well. (Ok, so that’s two things.)
But whether he’ll fess up to it or not, it’s clear from this tiny sampling of his aerial photography that Bioreconstruct, who says he’s “just a photographer” and one who tries to “stay behind the lens,” is a wildly-talented artist with an exceptional eye for the interesting and a knack for expertly delivering otherwise unattainable views from high in the skies to the riff-raff on the ground below. But by his own admission, it’s not without drawbacks.
“Photography is just an expensive hobby,” Bioreconstruct said. “Helicopter charters just add to the expense.”
He says that aerial photography of the parks is not unlike sports photography, in which the photographer has “some idea of what a shot might be, and you have an instant to catch it.” He says he misses those shots “all the time,” and he has “to be quick with [the] shutter.”
“It’s just fun to share things I stumble upon and [then] to have interesting photos to share,” he explains. And this writer, for one, is exceedingly grateful.
You can join Bioreconstruct on his adventures and witness progress in the parks on Twitter (@bioreconstruct).